The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) commented on the statement of Ukrainian tennis player, winner of four WTA singles tournaments Lesia Tsurenko, who withdrew from the tournament in Indian Wells (USA).
The 33-year-old athlete has withdrawn from the third round match of the tournament, where she was to play against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. According to Tsurenko, the reason for this decision was a conversation with the head of the organization Steve Simon, who spoke about the participation of tennis players from Russia and Belarus and their imminent return to the Olympics.
First of all, we respect Lesia's feelings and the feelings of all of our Ukrainian athletes as they continue to deal with this incredibly difficult situation. The war in Ukraine continues to affect the world, the tournament as a whole and its participants in particular. The WTA has consistently expressed its support for Ukraine. At the same time, we uphold the WTA's core principle that individual athletes should be able to participate in professional tennis tournaments without discrimination, and we cannot allow them to be punished for the decisions of their governments.
WTA representatives, quoted by The Tennis Podcast
Recall that Russian and Belarusian athletes perform at competitions held under the auspices of the WTA and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) in neutral status, without a flag, anthem and other state symbols.
Earlier, the media reported that Ukrainian tennis player Marta Kostyuk refused to shake hands with her Russian opponent Varvara Gracheva in the final of the WTA tournament in Austin (USA), held on March 5. Kostyuk won the tournament (6-3, 7-5), but the athletes refused a traditional handshake, didn't mention each other in post-match interviews, and didn't take a picture with their awards.